Loud buzzing noise on playback

I tried disconnecting in sequence all peripheral items and testing each time to try and eliminate a buzzing noise which starts the moment you click on play , ( before saving or exporting the tune ) but nothing disconnected made any difference.

Finally I connected the organ directly to the line in of the computer and recorded a few notes, on playback the buzzing is there even before the playback cursor gets to the actual music waveform when the music starts.

I then disconnected the line in and clicked on play and the noise was still there but much quieter.

This never used to happen and I can only surmise that I have accidentally switched something on or off that is causing this problem. And I guess this buzzing will also be recorded on anything I save etc. has anyone any ideas please ?

I know it’s tempting to dive right into the problem, but it’s a good idea to set the scene before you do that. Can we assume you’re trying to record your electronic organ?

I connected the organ directly to the line in of the computer

Probably not. Unless you have a large Windows desktop or a very old Mac, you have no Line-In. So what you really did was connect your organ to the gamer or Skype headset connection.

First Pass Buzz Solution: Can you run your laptop on batteries? Does it still buzz if you do that? If in the US, can you plug your Shore Power adapter into the wall backwards?

Do you know it’s power buzz? Post some of it on the forum.



Hi, I am in the UK, yes I am trying to record my playing on an electric organ, and it is a desktop PC and it definitely has a line “in” socket, it is at the rear, I have been using this for years with quite a few different organs and keyboards and have made a lot of recordings and have use Audacity all the time but have to admit do not have the real technical know how of audio.

This is (to me ) a new organ , Roland AT 900C which was the last model they made but basically much the same as others in operation etc. but it has a very wide range in volume and can be very loud if needed., I do not play very loud in fact I have to use headphones most of the time because it is only a small two bedroom bungalow The two slider settings at the top of the Audacity control page for recording and playback have always been set mid way , I mention this because since posting I did carry on looking for a reason and of I have just discovered that if I considerably reduce the slider adjustment of the playback volume at the top of the screen you can get rid of the buzz but then can hardly hear the organ !
But I have never had to do this with previous organs, it has always been set in the middle and never needed adjusting.

I wonder could this be simply a matter of volume balance between the two units, reduce the playback and increasing the record sliders did not work but perhaps there is another way ?

Hi, I have replied but cannot find my answer so I apologize for repeating it if you have a reply already. I am UK based and it is a PC and it does have a Line In socket at the rear, and you guessed right I am recording an electronic organ ( Roland AT900C ) very recently acquired but I have been recording in the same way with several different makes and using Audacity for several years. I did continue to try things after my last post and finally found that if I reduced the slider volume setting of the playback at the top of the Audacity control page the buzzing decreased, unfortunately, you could not hear the organ! I am puzzled that this should happen with a different organ as they all work the same way !
The two sliders for recording and playback have always been positioned mid way and have never been altered.

I did try recording increased and playback decreased but that did not seem to work.

Perhaps it may be this organ is quite powerful and needs balancing with the Audacity system, just guessing because when it comes to audio problems I know very little

The system should have warned you that your posts are viewed by one of the elves before they appear in public. Do you remember getting that warning? We do that to prevent commercials and trash from appearing. No, I’m not eager to buy new kitchen cabinets in Manchester.

Can you post some of the hum? We’re flying blind until we know exactly what the sound is.


I’m still a little fuzzy about the connection. You got a new organ with an analog connection option and only this one organ has troubles? All previous models worked first time out?

I record my keyboard by hijacking the headphone port. I run a “Y” split. One half goes to the large sound system and the other goes to a computer analog recording connection.


Hi, I used the headphone port and it is not as bad as before but there is a buzz, test two was after normalising which did not make any difference. I hope you ignore the playing, I was standing between the organ and the desk while fiddling with the two ! I set the organ’s auto-accompaniment and organs to about the average I always use and as I mentioned in my last messages ( sorry about the slip up there ) it looks as though it may just need a bit of tweaking with the volume controls now I realize that the playback slider set a bit lower will eliminate the buzz as it seems there is no technical fault, guessing of course as I am no expert in this field.



There may be a better way of doing this but I don’t know Regards Westmoors

after normalising which did not make any difference.

Normalizing will change the volume of everything. So, for example, if the buzz started out 1/10 the volume of the show, it will stay 1/10 the volume—even if they both got louder or softer.

I’m analyzing the buzz before the first note. You have symptoms of both US and Britain power hum. I’m not sure I can explain that…

But I think I know where to look first. Shut down the system, disconnect the headphone plug and scrub the metal bits with glass cleaner and a clean paper towel. Plug it back in firmly a couple of times. Turn everything on. Still buzzy?


Regarding the US/UK power hum issue, couldn’t it be due to the original British power line that’s transformed to an American frequency to power some parts of the computer that are built to American standards?

Not likely. “Mains hum” is essentially a problem concerned with the power supply. In computers and recording equipment, that gets converted to DC, then everything runs off the DC.

Looking closely at the waveform, the 60 Hz appears to be in the form of pulses, so my guess is that westmoors is located in a 50 Hz mains region (such as the UK), and the 60 Hz hum is the result of interference from an electrical appliance that just happens to be running at 60 Hz (such as a fridge motor, lighting dimmer circuit, or DC/AC inverter).

My thanks to all you guys that have looked at this problem I do appreciate your trouble and you are quite right I am in the Uk, also in an area surprisingly still a bit primitive as our mains power is supplied by overhead cabling along the street and even across the front lawn ! So that may well be where it is all coming from, and it could be significant that I have recently changed organs as it did not happen with any of the previous ones!

I have also been trying all I can think of including cleaning all plugs and adaptors etc. which did not change anything I am afraid, and have tried re-routing the connections by using the twin line out sockets and also the stereo headphone socket on my Roland organ, even connecting directly without a mixer unit to the computer but that did little good either.

I have tracked the buzz down to being in some way connected to just the output side of the organ and by connecting to the computer through a mixer unit the buzz can be minimized by reducing the individual volume on that circuit, however on playback I lose most of the volume of the whole recording and the quality…

It seems I have just two options, play as normal with the buzz and after recording use the Audacity remove noise feature, or as the mixer unit has a headphone socket which has an independent volume control it should be possible to raise the total organ volume sufficiently higher while having the line volume at the mixer low enough to stop the buzz and with the headphone monitoring at the mixer unit lowered so it does not burst my eardrums!
I hope this makes some sense as you can judge I am no expert in this field Many thanks again westmoors.

I’ve skimmed through your posts, but I don’t see how, exactly, you are connecting the organ to your computer. Please describe that (in detail).
I’ve found the manual (https://static.roland.com/assets/media/pdf/AT-900_900C_OM.pdf) so hopefully I will be able to follow a detailed description.

Also, how are the organ and computer connected to the mains power? (where are they physically plugged in in relation to the room, including description of extension cables etc.)

Oh, okay, thanks, I didn’t think about the possibility of the US-standard hum coming from an external source… Although it’s much more believable. By the way, thanks again for the explanation regarding DC conversion!

It’s good to remember that in home audio, the shield or outer conductor on plugs and sockets is common.

In this simple guitar cable, the metalic tip contains the sound and the long metalic cylinder behind that is the protective shield and the other half of the sound signal. Nothing odd there but that shield is also connected to the case of the guitar and the amp. That case is connected to the third prong of the wall power cable. Storm clouds already, right?

I worked with a small music group that had a broken amp and would routinely shock singers as their lips brushed the microphone in performance. I found and repaired the defect.

I lived in a house with two wall outlets wired incorrectly.

Errors like those can be a real problem in a home sound system, and very difficult to find. In simple terms, it can cause power buzz to overlay the music, and it’s magic. You can get magic by being able to make the hum change by touching the metal parts of the cabinets, worse if your hands are sweaty. You can have dirty connections cause this which is why the window cleaner and fresh rags can help.

I can generate a way to get both 60 and 50 in the same buzz. The power line runs at 50 and the screen refresh rate can be 60. Once you get an imbalance, the shields stop working and trash goes everywhere.

I don’t know of an easy answer. I would be dividing the system in portions and make sure each portion works exactly correctly. Then see what happens when only parts of the system are connected. Also my voltmeter would make an appearance to find if there’s anything obvious, such as two systems which are supposed to be grounded at the wall, aren’t.

Also the UK might have a local version of a cheap socket tester.

That legend tells all the possibilities of error: Hot and Cold Reversed, No Ground, etc.

You could be one of those lucky dogs with kit never meant to work with each other. That is possible.

Good luck.


This video goes through the variations of the UK tester.


The simple testers have the oddity that if they say something is good, it may or may not be good, but if they say it’s bad, call the electrician and be careful what you touch.


Great, I’ll go to bed smarter than I left it this morning!